On Election Day in 2016, former Mike Pence aide Nick Ayers pointed out a vulnerability in conventional polling wisdom.
Ayers’ analysis turned out to be prescient, and the polling industry experienced a public “come to Jesus” moment in the aftermath of the 2016 election.
Ayers’ remarks came during an interview with political strategist Mark McKinnon for Showtime’s “The Circus,” a Trump-era documentary series.
“I’ve always distrusted, particularly, national polls the closer you get,” Ayers told McKinnon at a rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania, as the Trump campaign eagerly awaited the election results.
- “The statistical noise is bouncing around quite a bit, but no one wants to be wrong,” he added. “So generally what you find is everyone is sort of within each other’s margin of error, which I don’t think is very telling.”
- Later on during “The Circus,” McKinnon reacted to the optimism of Trump’s campaign staff, despite polls in the run-up to the election showing Hillary Clinton holding a commanding lead over her Republican opponent.
- “When you’re in the campaign you find whatever evidence you can to hang on to the notion that it’s still going to happen,” McKinnon said.
According to polling experts, high-profile estimates pegged Clinton’s likelihood of beating Trump at 71 to over 99 percent.